George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Benjamin Harrison, 3 April 1784

From Benjamin Harrison

Rich[mon]d [Va.] Apr. 3d 1784

My Dear Sir

The enclosed letter from the clerk of the H. Delegates will inform you that the marquess’s thanks to the assembly have been presented.1 The resolution directing the Bust was order’d to be carried into execution by the commercial agent who was soon after dismiss’d from office, it never came to my hands till I sent for it yesterday, I will endeavour to have it comply’d with tho’ like other blunders of the assembly it was intended to be executed by their own officers.2

I am endeavouring to procure a copy of the tender law, if I obtain it I will forward it by the first safe private opportunity.3 Please to present my compliments to your good lady Miss Bassett and her Major let Fanny know her father has had the gout but is getting better.4 I am Dr Sir your affecte & obed. Servt

Benja. Harrison

ALS, DLC:GW.

2The resolution of the house of delegates of 17 Dec. 1781 reads: “Resolved, unanimously, That a bust of the Marquis de La Fayette, be directed to be made in Paris, of the best marble employed for such purposes, and presented to the Marquis, with the following inscription on it:

“‘This bust was voted on the 17th day of December, 1781, by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, to the Honorable the Marquis de La Fayette, Major General in the service of the United States of America, and late commander in chief of the army of the United States in Virginia, as a lasting monument of his merit, and of their gratitude.’

“Resolved, That the commercial agent, be directed to employ a proper person in Paris, to make the above bust” (House of Delegates Journal, 1781–1785). description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia; Begun and Held in the Town of Richmond, In the County of Henrico, on Monday, the Seventh Day of May, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-One. Richmond, 1828. description ends

The governor and council received the resignation of the commercial agent David Ross on 2 April 1782.

On 1 Dec. 1784 the house of delegates voted to have two busts of Lafayette made, one to be presented to the city of Paris and the other to “be fixed in such public place at the seat of government [of Virginia] as may hereafter be appointed for the erection of the statue voted by the general assembly to general Washington” (11 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 553). Houdon’s statue of GW and his bust of Lafayette are both in the rotunda of the Virginia state capitol in Richmond. See GW to Lafayette, 1 Feb. 1784, n.3.

3GW may have asked Harrison for a copy of the tender law when Harrison was at Mount Vernon in March. See GW to Thomas Jefferson, 24 Mar.1784, n.1. Harrison was probably referring to “An Act for calling in and funding the paper money of this state” enacted at the November 1781 session (10 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 456). The act was continued in the May 1783 session (11 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 193–94).

4Frances (“Fanny”) Bassett’s “Major” was GW’s nephew George Augustine Washington, whom she was to marry in October 1785. Her mother Anna Maria Dandridge Bassett, a sister of Martha Washington and wife of Burwell Bassett, died in 1777. Fanny Bassett was visiting Mount Vernon at this time; in December 1784 she returned to make Mount Vernon her home.

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